Recently, I got a new collector’s edition of Optimus Prime called “Buster Optimus Prime” made by Takara from Japan.
It is a major improvement over the Leader Class “Revenge of the Fallen” Movie #2 released earlier this year by Hasbro. The paint job is much more detailed and gleaming. As a bonus and name-implied, the exhaust pipes convert to a giant “buster” gun.
I also started a new hobby that amazingly combines my illusion design skills and experience with my Optimus Prime collectibles. There is actually a tiny niche market with a larger community of enthusiasts who custom action figures and transformers toys by custom painting and modifying them. The main motivation for customisers is to create a realistic, non-toy plastic look of their favourtie action figures or toys. This is very similar to people who build model replica cars, planes, trains, ships or army vehicles.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, I started to think about how I would approach customizing my own Optimus Prime. After some thought, doodling and conceptualizing, I realized it was very similar with what I do with our illusions; specifically, redesigning an existing prop through remodelling, finishing and detailing. “360” Sawing” and “The Spike Box” come to mind.
Many techniques I use for illusion designing (or redesiging) directly apply to customising toys. So, I set up part of my room to become my mini studio, well equipped to handle the customization of my own Optimus Primes.
I’ve already got three different concepts for custom Optimus Primes and have begun work on the first one since 7 Dec. Each one will likely take 6 – 10 weeks to complete. The process which I have developed is pretty elaborate.
I did loads of research with other customisers, some who have done awesome jobs, as well as general model car painters. I took the techniques that I think best suit me and my skill set and also “imported” a few special techniques from working with large scale illusions. I think the end products will be pretty cool and will feature one of a kind interpretations of Optimus Prime … if they turn out right.
The first one I’m working on is called (working title) “Old School” Optimus Prime. I’m actually working on a Leader Class Optimus Prime from Movie #1 but repainting him in his tradtional colour scheme but with a high gloss metallic finish. I’ve been working on this first one about 2 – 3 hours a day and after a week, part of the figure is only 40% done.
Will share more pics as the project develops.
Check out my Custom Optimus Prime blog at: www.customoptimusprime.com for more photos, examples of my work and learn how to customize your own Optimus Prime.